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  • Suzette Tiempo

Employer Compliance: Temporary Foreign Worker Program

When hiring foreign workers through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), there are certain conditions that Canadian employers must meet. The Canadian government enforces these rules. They exist so that the government can ensure that TFWP is serving its rightful purpose instead of being exploited.

Responsibilities as an Employer

As a Canadian employer, you must fulfill the following:

• Meet the requirements for Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and its terms, TFWP, and annexes to the decision letter.

• Keep all records for six years from the day the work permit is issued. These documents include the LMIA application and other documents that prove compliance.

• Contact Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) if any changes or errors relating to an LMIA or the foreign worker occur.

• Address any non-compliance issues as soon as they are found.

ESDC is authorized to review an employer using the TFWP and ensure that they comply. They do so by the three methods discussed below.


There can be a few reasons for an inspection:

• Non-compliance by the employer is suspected

• The employer was non-compliant before

• Random selection

What to Expect During an Inspection

During an inspection, an employer is obligated to:

• Attend the inspection

• Answer any questions

• Prove compliance

• Follow-up in the time specified

Possible Penalties

The penalty for a non-compliant employer is based on a points system that depends on conditions such as the violation type compliance history and other factors.

Possible penalties may include warnings, monetary fines, a ban or the revocation of a previously-approved LMIA.

Employer Compliance Review (ECR)

ECRs occur before the approval of the LMIA application. ESDC can check an employer’s compliance for up to 6 years before receiving the LMIA.

During an ECR, the employer can expect to review whether they have met the wage and occupation requirements. Employers are asked to produce documents that prove their past compliance. Any employer who fails to do so can face a penalty.

Possible Penalties

• A negative LMIA

• Revocation of previously approved LMIA

• Ban from applying to TFWP and International Mobility Program (IMP)

Under Ministerial Instruction

Ministerial Instruction serves to determine whether the new information received by the ESDC to revoke an LMIA is justified. An employer is only subject to this form a review when ESDC gets information regarding the employer being non-compliant. It can take place any time after the LMIA is issued.

Employers undergoing Ministerial Instruction will be notified that they are up for potential revocation. They would also be notified if their LMIA has been revoked and can be asked to provide additional information related to the reasons for non-compliance.

Results of Inspection

The reviews mentioned above have two possible outcomes:

• Satisfactory

• Non-compliant

If the outcome is “non-compliant,” the employer’s LMIA is revoked or not issued, and they are not returned the LMIA processing fee.

Being a compliant employer means being fair to the Canadian government and the foreign worker you are hiring. It involves honesty on your end and a dedication to seeking the best possible outcomes for everyone affected.



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